Waraku Education

Ideas, experiments and observations as they occur [and I have time] relating to teaching and learning in a secondary school - special focus on ICT.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Google Apps for schools demo

A search for videos using the criteria 'google apps in schools' produced some interesting results. One was the Google@school - Google Apps Technical Q&A but the more engaging and informative for me was Chris Iremonger speaks at Google@school - Google Apps Demo

Chris Iremonger is a very skilled presenter and comes across as confidently representing Google Inc. I felt that he could be trusted. I was encouraged by the many and consistent references to the importance of open standards. It was more than clear that Google wants to make open the possibility for people to integrate their solutions with them and so open standards are central.

This particular video was posted 2 years ago and has had only 673 views. This video needs to be viewed by every education technology strategist/coordinator/CEO/? within education sectors. There are surely more than 673 of them. As we are thinking about the future and options for our schools, this would have to be one of the options we explore.

There are lots of questions and considerations for us to consider but some of the questions that could be asked include

  • Is it technically feasible to offer this to the staff and students in our schools?

  • What would the transition look like?

  • What are the pros and cons?

  • Could offering the basic apps in this way allow us to make use of lower spec machines for longer?

  • Are there security or privacy issues that need to be considered?

  • Would administering this be easier than edumail, ms office, ..........?

I appreciated the fact that the Google Apps solution provided options and choice and it was clear that the developers had a grip on the needs of educational institutions and the protection of their students.

I was hit with the notion - what if they decided that education had to pay sometime down the track? Provide the service for free for now to produce 'lockin'. Hmm. The whole time that education had made use of the free service they were also eliminating the alternatives from growing. Students should not be presented with hurdles (legal and/or financial) to continuing with their learning outside of the school and we need to approach this with vision so that we can achieve this in the short and long term. I guess that the use of open standards throughout the Google Apps means that 'lockin' is less likely to be an issue.

I like the way that collaboration is built into all aspects of the suite of Google apps. This was very evident in the video and begged the question, why would a school pay for Groove?

The video runs for about 60 minutes and at the 51 minute mark Chris talks about the upgrade process. He states that when they update software it allows the user to continue with their operations. When they log out and then log back on they then take advantage of the upgrade. Seamless, nice.

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  • At 10:24 pm, Blogger izitjo said…


    I've had a bit of fun looking properly at all the bits and pieces on yr blog that I haven't had time to investigate during term. I've watched a bit (the ants were interesting), signed up for some stuff, downloaded and played around.

    Thanks, it's all good value and I look forward to seeing how it all works together!

    Hope you have a good last day of hols! :)


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